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Sarah Clayton

Professor of Anthropology

College of Letters and Science | Department of Anthropology

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Sarah Clayton is an archaeologist who studies the growth and decline of the world’s earliest urban capitals and their impacts on surrounding landscapes and communities. She conducts field research in Mexico, where she investigates everyday life and social change at Teotihuacan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was the largest city of its time in the Americas. Rural-urban interaction, migration, and identity are major themes of her work. She is currently director of the Chicoloapan Archaeological Project, which examines community formation, land use, and resilience in association with the collapse of a regional state. Clayton’s research is supported by the National Science Foundation and conducted in collaboration with local community members and researchers from Mexico, the U.S., and France. She has been with UW-Madison since 2010.

Dr. Clayton prefers in-person talks only.


Everyday life after the fall of Teotihuacan

How do local communities respond when state systems break down and powerful capitals are abandoned? This talk highlights current research at Chicoloapan, Mexico, where archaeology, remote sensing, and paleoenvironmental analyses are integrated to reconstruct everyday life after Teotihuacan’s collapse and to understand the ways in which people rebuild sustainable communities.